Fairstone announce acquisition of ASM Financial Planning

Chartered financial planning firm Fairstone have announced the acquisition of Belfast based ASM Financial Planning. The transaction further reinforces Fairstone’s growth plan for 2021.

The acquisition by the full-service wealth management house further highlights the strength of Fairstone’s unique Downstream Buy Out acquisition model. The model integrates ambitious IFA firms into the group, typically over a two-year period, prior to final acquisition. The focus of Fairstone’s approach is to attract businesses that do not want to sell today. Instead, Fairstone targets robust and well-managed firms that want to grow and develop. Therefore, this creates a higher overall valuation in the future.

Significantly, the vast majority of companies that have successfully reached ultimate acquisition stage demonstrate continued organic growth and a higher valuation than expected at the outset of the journey. Firms commonly exceed their original aspirational sale value.

Based in Belfast, ASM is a whole-of-market advice firm specialising in advice and management of investment and retirement portfolios. 

The acquisition brings an additional 1,500 clients into the group together with ASM’s six advisers and nine support staff. The acquisition also secures funds under management in excess of £250 million.

Commenting on the deal, Lee Hartley, CEO of Fairstone, said: 

“We are delighted to complete the acquisition of ASM Financial Planning. Their focus on quality advice and exceptional service is exactly what we are looking for in a business. Similarly, their client-centric approach makes them an excellent fit for Fairstone. 

“Within Fairstone, we invest in forward thinking firms to optimise their capital value, providing the framework they need to significantly grow their business, without compromising on client service or independence. The acquisition marks another valued addition to our group.”

ASM Financial Planning principals, Haydn Gibson and Keith Storey, said that the Fairstone proposition appealed as it enabled the firm to continue to provide an independent offering to clients, while also benefitting from being part of a larger organisation.

Haydn Gibson added: 

“The industry as a whole is moving towards the centralisation of resources due to increasing operational costs and regulatory pressures. Fairstone offered this centralisation without compromising our independence or client focused ethos.

“In the past we have been approached by several potential buyers but the Fairstone proposition and their wealth of experience ensured that we can concentrate on developing the business and providing a personalised service to new and existing clients.”

Lee Hartley added: 

“Fairstone support sector leaders in developing their businesses and I can say with confidence that we remain in a superb position to deliver more growth throughout this year and far beyond.

“Our approach is the exact opposite of the traditional ‘consolidator’ model and our underlying numbers – from client satisfaction and client retention through to earn-out performance – fully back this up.”

Headquartered in Newcastle with 42 locations across the UK, Fairstone oversees £11 Billion FUM for over 40,000 wealth clients.

For a deeper insight into UK M&A activity in the financial advice market, take a look at our dedicated news page here.